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Monday, 31 March 2008

Mui Ne


We had a quick weekend break in Mui Ne about five hours from HCMC by bus. The picture above was taken from Coco Beach resort where we didn't stay but did use the facilities. The following picture was taken from the same place.

Why tourists shouldn't wear a non la
Why tourists shouldn't wear traditional clothing

We stayed at the Full Moon Beach Resort and liked it. The rooms were quirky and cute, more bijou than luxurious but perfectly charming. The plumbing was a bit musical so if you stay there expect to wake up to other people's water music as it courses down the pipes. Nice staff, perfect positioning and a laid back atmosphere.

Full Moon Resort, Garden

The pool is saline and the tiles are very nice, bourgainvillia drops into it from time to time but my photie-ography isn't up to capturing it yet.

The bar closes at 10.30.

Late night deserted bar

There are lots of other places relatively close by where you can drink later.


Or you can time it right and get a bottle of wine as the bar closes and enjoy the sound of the waves a few meters from your table.

The view is stunning. Even at night.

Moon from full moon

But just in case you think it was all too idyllic .....

 he is again

cone man cropped

Saturday, 22 March 2008


Last night we got caught and had to pay an "occassional road tax" to the tune of 300,000 dong. Inflation huh!

300,000 dong

Allegedly we were driving in the car lane, we couldn't prove otherwise and our particular traffic policeman was armed with a hand written notice saying "Police keep moto 20 days". A quick call to our bike hire guy couldn't get us off the hook so we had to pay up. Just a month ago the foreigners road tax was 200,000 if you were unlucky but the price of everything is going up.

No receipt of course but hopefully we won't get caught again too soon.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Saigon Cyclo Challenge

Saturday the 8th of March was the Annual Saigon Cyclo Challenge, a fund raising event for Saigon Childrens Charity held at the Taipai International School. As you'd expect it's a cyclo race sponsored by foreign and local companies with employees taking part.

Cyclo comes a cropper

It's not as easy as it looks and some of the participants take it very seriously. As well as prizes for winning races there's tough competition to win the Best Cheerleader competition. They strutted their stuff in the opening parade.

Cyclo Paraders

Stilts were very popular, traditional dress and more modern interpretations were on show.

Bulls on stilts

I didn't see any of them fall.

The bulls shoogled their buttocks:

Bull Bums

The cheerleader leader lead the cheering with inexhaustible enthusiasm

Cheerleader Leader

The girls from Catwalk dressed like cats

Cat woman

and walked

The Wrong Shoes

it was clearly hard on the feet.


Other girls from I don't know where dressed in gold tutus and tails and also walked in inappropriate footwear.

Footwear worries

I couldn't work out the significance of the tiger and grass skirt combo

Tiger and grass skirt combo

but it was all for charity so I can't be too critical.

I tried and failed to get a good picture of the professional cyclo drivers but they were too fast for me.

Professional Race

A good day and the unseasonal rain stayed off until the last race.

If I've got it right clicking on the title of this post should take you to Saigon Children's Charity site where you can see what it was all in aid of and see much better photographs of the day taken by a man in a pith helmet.

Photographer in Pith Helmet

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Helmet Chic

Since December 15th 2007 wearing helmets has been compulsory. At first the choices of helmets was fairly limited. This weekend I was at Hard Hat Corner on Le Lai to replace my cracked helmet and was overjoyed to see that fashion has reached the helmet market so quickly.

Prior to the new law people often wore wide brimmed hats to keep the sun off their faces while driving. There's no need to stop that even though you're wearing a helmet. The inventive Vietnamese have come up with a compromise in the form of the Helmet Skirt!
Frilly skirt with green bow
Fashionable and functional with a shiny green bow too.

Pink, frilly helmet skirt with polka dots
For the girl seeking a bit of Barbie style.

Not seen one to suit yet?
Moto helmet skirt collection

Something a little more classy?
Plush Helmets
I was quite taken by the brown plush covered one in the middle, it has a look of the horse riding helmet about it. It was too large though so I had to pass on it.

Something for the gentleman, a lightly themed military helmet.
Helmet Militaria

The goggles are shiny plastic and opaque so only there to fulfill the fashion needs of the wearer.

Or the more rugged helmet skirt for the man about town. Helmet kilt perhaps?

Manly headgear

There are other helmet variations I've yet to capture:

The hand painted helmet, the ones with crystals glued to it, the decal salespeople who seem to specialise in Winnie the Pooh decorations for helmets, the helmet with a rigid brim or built in skirt, the giant baseball cap skip, the matching bike and helmet combo with decals in the same theme and the full helmet hat cosy.

Then there are the wearing styles. Helmet with hat underneath and for me, the holy grail, helmet with hat underneath and cone hat on top, seen twice but never when I had a camera with me.

I'll keep searching.